What: Excursion to a veal slaughterhouse
When: 31st of Januari 2013
Where: Van Drie Group in Apeldoorn.
As part of the MeatSeries, we visited a slaughterhouse to learn more about the story behind the plastic packages of meat we buy in the supermarket. With a group of 12 people, we left early morning to ‘Van Drie Group’ in Apeldoorn, where we were welcomed by Patricia (Manager Marketing &Communication).
After a short introductory movie about the company we had to get ready for the excursion. Long white jackets, covers for our shoes and hair, and of course… a helmet. We scrubbed our hands clean, split into two groups and went to the ‘skybox’. From here, we had a good view of two large halls. In the first, parts of carcasses were coming in on a rail and were cut in smaller pieces. These were packaged and labelled in the second hall, all according to the client order. This client order, together with information about the animal is part of an innovative track and trace system.
As we moved further towards the start of the production process, the pieces of meat got bigger and bigger. And then we met the carcasses. We had to manoeuvre our way through lines of carcasses being transported on rails. We were happy to wear helmets at this point. We moved from a room where undigested food was taking out of the veal’s stomach to a room where meat was literally falling from the sky into boxes. Slaloming between carcasses and blood, staring at a rail with tongues and heads passing by, it was about to get even more real.
We entered a hall where the entire carcasses, including skin, were coming in. Here, the animals were skinned, the guts were taken out, and hoofs and head were cut off, each part going off in another direction. Nothing is wasted at Van Drie Group. The undigested food goes to the fertilizer industry, the blood to the cosmetics industry, the skin to the leather industry, some organs are exported, others go to the pet industry. We ended the excursion at the stable. The calves were coming in here, and through a zigzag of pathways led to the man with the sedating ‘gun’. After this part, the animal’s throat was cut in accordance to Islamic traditions. By that time, the next veal had already been stunned.
After this tour, we had lunch together (yes, really), prepared by Van Drie Group. We had some time to discuss about what we had seen, and Patricia answered many questions from the group. We left for Wageningen with a clearer picture of what meat production entails and with first-hand information about the different steps in this process.